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9 Investigates issue of nude photos posted online without consent

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates found a growing Internet problem that victims can't do anything about: Nude photos posted online without their consent.

Oftentimes, the images contain personal information like names, phone numbers and home addresses.

Right now, that's not a crime, but new legislation filed by Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Titusville, would change everything.

Channel 9's Vanessa Welch sat down with a young woman who was ashamed to show her face. Her ex-boyfriend posted nude photos and videos of her online with her name, email and the central Florida city where she lives.

The images quickly spread all over the Internet.

"It's like having that nightmare where you are naked in front of a room full of people, but you are living it day in and day out," the woman said.

The woman's boss Googled her name and found the videos. Friends and coworkers saw them, too, she said.

"(I) felt lower than dirt because I was being exposed in ways that I never thought anyone would see," she said.

The woman said she called the Brevard County Sheriff's Office for help and was told it's not a crime to post nude photos without a person's consent, even if the person and the person's address are identified.

"It's horrific to have to tell someone that right now. As it is today, there is not anything we can do about it," said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

Ivey worked with Goodson to draft legislation that would make it a felony to post nude pictures and personal identifiers without consent.

"A young woman in Canada killed herself over this," Goodson told Channel 9. "If it saves one life, it will be worth it."

The Canadian teenager posted a video on YouTube before killing herself. When she was 13, she flashed a man in a chat room, and he posted the image all over the Internet.

Using flashcards, the girl explained in the YouTube video how it led to bullying and depression.

The local victim who sat down with Welch knows how she feels.

"There is no way to escape someone Googling those pictures of you," she said. "It's devastating for any future careers. It comes with a price."

While she admits she shouldn't have taken the explicit photos and videos in the first place, like many teens, she didn't consider the consequences.

"I was at an age when I didn't fully understand the impact these pictures could make if they possibly leaked out," she told Welch. "It's very hard to know that someone can easily find you and track you down because your identifiers are next to your picture."

Since posting such images with personal identifiers is not currently a crime, no one knows how many people are in similar situations.

Law enforcement agencies across Florida, however, have taken calls for help on this issue.

If passed, the new law also would help victims file civil suits to get the images removed from the Internet.